Nigeria rice production outshines other African countries
Despite the laudable progress made in rice production, Nigeria is still the largest importer of rice in Africa. Based on the available data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2018, Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in Africa with a production quantity of 6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of paddy rice while milled production amounts to the tune of 3.7 million metric tonnes (Mt).
This rice output (paddy) in Nigeria outweighs that of Egypt which dropped by 23.25 per cent from 6.23 Mt in 2017 to 4.78 Mt in 2018. This decline in production quantity in Egypt is equivalent to a difference of 1.22 Mt vis-à-vis Nigeria’s production.
The decline in Egypt’s production can also be attributed to a significant decline in the total area were rice was harvested, which could mean that much efforts were not directed to production as it were in the previous year. The total harvested area of rice in Egypt reduced by 22.83 per cent from 762 thousand hectares (ha) of land in 2017 to 588 thousand ha in 2018.
Besides Nigeria and Egypt, some other African countries have been gearing up to cut down on the importation of rice. Madagascar’s paddy was up by 18.75 per cent in 2018 to 3.8 Mt from 3.2 Mt in the corresponding year from 1.43 million ha of land to 1.45 million ha in 2018. Tanzania recorded 5.36 per cent increase from 2.8 Mt to 2.95 Mt in 2018 on the same area of land.
Guinea, another country striving to jack up its production quantity, recorded quite a few increases of 3.18 per cent on the same area of land(1.1 million ha) from 2.20 Mt in 2017 to 2.27 Mt in 2018. Ivory Coast also recorded increase from 2.2 Mt from the corresponding year to 2.23 Mt in 2018; with 1.5 per cent increase in the utilised land from 862 thousand ha to 875 thousand ha in 2018.
Other countries like Ghana (850 thousand tonnes (Tt)), Cameroun, 351 Tt; Benin, 280 Tt; Guinea Bissau 165 Tt, and Togo at 140 Tt among others recorded paddy production below 1 MT.
From the analyses above, even though other factors may have contributed to the decline in Egypt’s production, we cannot ignore the fact that the significant decline in the harvested area is also a major contributor.